“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The China Price

From From Bloomberg Businessweek

DECEMBER 6, 2004


They are the three scariest words in U.S. industry. Cut your price at least 30% or lose your customers. Nearly every manufacturer is vulnerable -- from furniture to networking gear. The result: A massive shift in economic power is under way.

Wage Inflation Officially Comes To China, As Foxconn Doubles Salaries After Rash Of Suicides

Joe Weisenthal | Jun. 6, 2010,

Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, which makes devices for the likes of Apple and Dell, has taken what may its most aggressive step yet to stop the suicides that have become common at the company.

It is engaging in a big wage hike.

WSJ reports that according to a company announcement, minimum wage workers may see a more than doubling of wages, while others will see at least a 30% hike -- previously the company had indicated a 20% wage hike to deal with the problem, so this is already an expansion.

This is obviously a tough move for the company to have to take given the notoriously low margins facing Chinese manufacturers, plus the fact that the yuan has already been de facto revalued higher due to the collapsing euro.

But obviously the previous situation is untenable, and we wouldn't be surprised to see this move reverberate across the country, and then, by extension across the world, to consumers that enjoy the fruits of cheap Chinese labor.

The labor unrest in China has been mounting, mounting, mounting and soon we may be talking about the Mexico Price...



  1. Envy shadows almost all human activities, very much so in China.

    The Chinese exporting model does not rely on capital as it does in Germany. It is based on surplus cheap labor and very little regulation.

    If you visit an average Chinese factory, you will be startled by the ratio of workers to capital. The parking lot attached to the factory will be small to non-existent.

    It will hold few cars, Buicks, BMWs or similar and many bikes racks. The vast majority of workers will use buses, bikes, walk or live in shanty barracks close to or on the factory grounds.

    The newly wealthy in China have it and flaunt it.

    The disparity between the lives of the Chinese workers and management class is shocking to Americans and European business people. It is unsustainable and predictable as current events show.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops.

  2. But apologizing to the Chi-Coms is good, speaking out against a 20 Billion Dollar Shakedown, an outrage.

    We don't need that stinking Constitution no more.
    We have The One.

    THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN is right:
    We could fix things quick-like if BHO continues to ape Hugo and the Chi-Coms

  3. Rufus Claims to have seen Bigfoot can see his hand-powered corn sheller and some miscellaneous moonshine making equipment in the background.

    Flexfuel, indeed!

  4. BP oil spill caused by 'negligence or misconduct', says drilling partner

    The Guardian - ‎59 minutes ago‎
    BP has come under further pressure after one of its partners said the oil giant should foot the entire bill for the damage caused by the Gulf of Mexico spill.

  5. Piles of money may be shared with investors as dividends
    June 16, 2010|By Gail MarksJarvis

    U.S. companies are hoarding cash, trying to insulate themselves from the vagaries of a rocky economic recovery and making sure they won't be at the mercy of a bank or other lender if they need money.

    But with non-financial companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index alone holding more than $1 trillion, analysts are eyeing the stash and considering where the firms might use it. The bet is that little will go into what the economy needs most in the long run: hiring workers and investing in new facilities and equipment.

  6. The cause of the problem was BP, through bad decisions or bad luck, probably both.

    After the problem, it was a matter of US national security, and the president, predictably blew it. He is a fiasco. He is still obsessed with Arizona.

    He is more qualified to sit in the front seat of the presidential limousine than the back, having previously been qualified in a Chrysler 300.

  7. Since we're focussed on domestic and political:

    Here's some Mark Steyn:

    Barack Obama was supposed to be the best, the very best, and yet he is always, reliably, consistently mediocre. His speech on oil was no better or worse than his speech on race. Yet the Obammyboppers who once squealed with delight are weary of last year's boy band. At the end of the big Oval Office address, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSNBC gang jeered the president. For a bewildered Obama, it must have felt like his Ceausescu balcony moment. Had they caught up with him in the White House parking lot, they'd have put him up against the wall and clubbed him to a pulp with Matthews' no-longer-tingling leg.

    Read more

  8. Obama is a true watermelon.

  9. Obama says that "we have to rebuild America."

    His idea of rebuilding the country is to gut it to a hollow shell and then rebuild it in a "greener, more sustainable" way. Whatever that means.

  10. A White House MisfireThe White House response to Elena Kagan’s comparison of the NRA to the KKK is weak.

    VERBRUGGEN II: Kagan Lumps the NRA with the KKK

  11. Good to know that Navy Secretary/Part Time Gulf Cleanup Czar Ray Mabus has called for a cleaner, more energy-efficient fleet.

    That should be priority 1.

  12. 18. Gary Ogletree
    To be truly green, wind power must replace turbines.

    A 74 gun ship of the line is so pretty, too.

    So we must go aft to go forward.

    A new slogan for the Navy.

  13. Daftness is our most important product.

  14. Obama has used the phrase "rebuild America" on many occasions.

    What does that tell you about the man?

    What do we think when we announce we want to rebuild the kitchen? A lawnmower? Rebuild our finances? Rebuild a blighted neighborhood?

    It means we do not like something the way it is. It is a fundamental distaste for the subject of our proposed rebuilding.

    Obama does not like America. He never did. He has no significant roots in America. His life experiences tell the tale from his mother, father, where he lived and who he is.

    America elected a president that does not like America. He promised change and change we are going to get. We hired someone to redesign a kitchen that never did it before.

    We would not let someone build our lawnmower if we knew he had never done so before, but we elected a president to rebuild the most complicated powerful country , the longest running free country in history.

    Obama could not be less qualified. Obama could not be less of an American patriot. Obama could not have been less experienced, less steeped in American values or less appreciative of the American culture.

    Obama is the "Hail Mary Pass" of American politics, and it was thrown in the wrong direction.

  15. President Obama, the people's choice.

  16. Obama was in the right place at the right and for his entire life, I believe has been the beneficiary of 'social promotion.'

    I'm not saying he isn't smart, just that I think he may have always been given a pass all the way to the White House.

    The ultimate Peter Principle.

  17. Doug said: Foxy Meagan

    Oh Baby, you knowwwwwww what I like!

    Deuce: America elected a president that does not like America.

    America: Love it or stop being its President.

  18. "I'm never, ever ever ever going to ask Trish, if she actually, actually voted for the..."

    ...current president.


    But I got all weepy-like when he won.

    Not, of course, for the same reason you folks did.

    On a less contentious topic: I swore after coming home last winter that I would never, ever ever ever complain about the weather once springtime arrived. And so joyously relieved was I that I upheld that. But now it's summer, and I tell you what: something desperately needs to be done about summer.

    It's not even terrible here today, but the dread fact has sunk in: we're not even into fucking July. Fucking July, people!

    What kinda asshole designed a climate that swings like a pendulum between extremes, unbearable year after unbearable year? And why do we continue to put up with it?

  19. A wiggle and a walk.
    A giggle and a talk.

    That makes the world go round.

  20. And why do we continue to put up with it?

    Take it up with Obumble. He should be able to do something about it. Isn't he the one who stopped the rising waters?

    "So let it be written, so let it be done."

  21. The best way to understand Obama is to see what he has to say about himself:

    Obama was abandoned by his father when he was a child. His father went to Kenya and was killed in a car crash in 1982. Obama was 21. Obama was brought up in Hawaii and Indonesia.

    In his own writing he talks about his emotional journey to find his roots in Kenya. To him and by his own admission he was rooted in Kenya, not America.

    Obama's grandfather was a Mau Mau, captured and tortured by the British. The Daily Mail has their own theory about Obama.

    Arriving in Kenya, he (Obama) heard at Granny Sarah’s knee the family folklore, and the story of his grandfather’s humiliation at the hands of the British.

    What’s clear is that this episode, and Britain’s colonial rule, has left a deep scar on the Obama family.

    Why Obama hates the British

  22. The DOD's "Joint Operating Environment" Report estimates that the world will be 10 Million Barrel/Day short on Oil by the year 2015. They understand that they will have to go "Green" (Biofuels,) to some extent.

  23. The Pharobama said, "Plug the damn hole.

    So let it be written, so let it be done."

  24. I was not weepy when Obama was elected. I was concerned that my great reservations and doubts about his capacity would be confirmed.

    I watched his face and listened to his words the first time he sat in AF 1.

    "This is pretty nice." he said.

    Here we go, I thought and here we are today.

    He has not disappointed me. He is every bit as bad as I thought he would be.

  25. "Take it up with Obumble."

    Yeah, see, you are not honoring my attempt to direct this thread away from an otherwise ceaseless course of Best-President-Ever-bashing.

  26. Re: T's link to Arab Fest where you will be arrested if you dare attempt to hand out Christian literature.

    Read Andy McCarthy's latest, Bon Jovi Islam, at NRO

  27. "I was not weepy when Obama was elected. I was concerned..."

    And now you're obsessed.

    Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that.

  28. There was a retirement yesterday.

    Remarkable guy.

    Special Friend of the NY Yankees and, really, if that doesn't expedite your entry into heaven, nothing does.

    One of his parting gifts was a framed ticker tape from May 6 of this year, with a photo of him - that's right - opening the stock exchange that day. : )

  29. My affinity with gardening puts me at a divergency of interest with chip-monks and now groundhogs.

    They are quite amusing creatures, but as luck would have it enthusiastic grazers to some of my favorite things.

    I need a barn cat and a beagle to do my dirty work but am not fond of animals in my house.

    Nothing is easy, especially relaxation.

  30. I'd rather have them building cell phones than "landing craft."

    Asia is Always a love/hate deal.

    Bush handled them fairly well. Played Good cop/Bad cop with Schumer, and got them to move on their currency a bit. I'm afraid the "unfecked" Won won't have quite as deft a touch. I hope I'm wrong.

  31. I've always found "plinking" varmints to be relaxing.

  32. "I need a barn cat and a beagle..."

    The dog will never catch them. Trust me.

    Cats, however, are true hunter/ killers. Check your local animal shelter and keep the cat lavishly accommodated in the barn.

    It'll obey its feral instinct.

    In years past, we've had beloved cats bring in no end of small animal body parts.

    They're lethal.

  33. Well, okay, a dog is better for the groundhogs. They're large-ish.

    But I wouldn't wanna see that.

    Live traps and a subsequent release into the Groundhog Sanctuary.

  34. Cats are a bunch of crap. While I may hare written a poem to ease my wife's sensibilities, I'm glad he's gone.

    A Brit Spaniel, that can actually hunt, is another thing alltogether.

    Cats are only good for barns, they are, basically, worthless.

  35. Starlight scope + .22 rifle + case of Bud Light. Many enjoyable evenings.

    When the varmints are gone you can shoot the cats. :)

    Life is Good.

  36. Dogs are natural killers. The Scots use them to hunt deer. Beagles can be tough.

    As a boy I had two beagles, the second an ornery female that gave our mailman a nervous tic.

    You could wash her and she returned the favor by taking off for the fields to roll in cow dung.

    She had another disgusting habit of visiting a local farm where the farmer's wife would kill a chicken or two each week using a hatchet and stump.

    I am not sure what she did with the heads but my beagle would find them running around with it in her mouth daring you to take it. She would occasionally bury it then occasionally dig them up again.

    A hard dog to love but the bitch could hunt. She forgot about me when I went into the service. No welcome for me on my first leave home in a brand spanking new blue wool uniform.

    She thought me to be the mailman and attacked me from behind.

  37. I've always found dogs to be good judges of character.

    Never trusted a man (or chick) my dogs didn't like.


  38. However.

    Dogs roll in godawful stinky dead things and then look up at you like, "What"

    MmmHmm. Bad actors they can be.

  39. Everyone knows how much they resemble their owners.

  40. Few dogs have ever packed up 4 dozen heads and tried to book them on an airliner, however.

  41. China Signals a Gradual Rise in Value of Its Currency

    HONG KONG — The renminbi’s value would be set in relation to a basket of currencies, not just the dollar.

  42. Two bits, four bits, six bits a renminbi.

  43. Kid got sent to Reno for a week to get an award and take some classes.

    Co-worker here said her son runs a strip club there, so naturally he had to pay the guy a visit.

    Had a beauty contest for 3 strippers to be judged by 3 patrons from out of town.

    One other judge was an Army Sniper, the other a Navy Paramedic.

    They agreed on which stripper was the hottest, kid tried to convince them that "she" was a he, to no avail.
    Audience voted for him also.

    I said, "how did you know she was a tranny?"

    He said there are lots of them on Maui, wife agreed.

    Doug was, and remains in the dark about this fact and associated details.

  44. My aunt had a Spitz that would attack anything with a uniform on, even the mailman. It was a pisser. Finally the little shit died, and she got a black poodle, there was a pretty good dog, though the usual drain on the check book.

  45. Kid spent the night kibbitizing with a group of lesbo students from University of Nevada, or whatever.
    Said they were hot.
    Wore some cute outfits, but I've forgotten what they were.

  46. Teresita:

    Do you think there are more lesbos now amoung the young?

    Namely, girls that were not born that way, but made the choice in light of new social norms?

    I'd guess yes.

    Plus there are few men at college than ever, and half of them are only half men.

  47. I've always found dogs to be good judges of character.

    Never trusted a man (or chick) my dogs didn't like

    O Quirkie, I've always loved dogs, you included.

  48. Trish always complains about the weather but never does anything about it.

  49. What Were the Causes That Led to the Deepwater Horizon Blowout and Explosion?

    Author's Note: This is a guest post by William Semple. Mr. Semple is a drilling engineer and independent drilling consultant with 37 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He worked for 16 years with a major oil company and has 24 years of experience as a drilling supervisor.

  50. Fantastic post Rockman.

    As I consider the whole of your arguments, It's not much of a reach to imagine a case where the minority holders expected something like this would happen - not this level of severity - but a case where they knew that BP would violate the JOA by way of `gross negligence or willful misconduct' thereby ceding drilling rights to this field which is arguably a nice find. Remains to be seen whether the minority partners can surf the rest of this wave, but Anadarko as informant and witness stands to come out smelling like a rose, and possibly with minority partners gaining control of the field if they covered their butt, and from their stance here early on, it looks like they did. Abundance of Hubris and extreme high stakes.


    "How close is BP coming to the gallows?

    Keep an eye on Anadarko. They may represent the best “leading indicator” of BP’s future."

  52. Doug: Namely, girls that were not born that way, but made the choice in light of new social norms?

    Doug, homosexuality as a primary orientation is never a choice. Never. You know what you are when you are very young (think about who you crushed on when you were ten, was it Cathy Lee Crosby like me, or Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis), and since society frowns on it, some people live their lives in a great deal of unhappiness, even perhaps getting married or becoming a Senator who takes one stance against gay rights on the Senate floor and another stance in the men's room.

  53. "and since society frowns on it, some people live their lives in a great deal of unhappiness"
    I don't think 20 year olds in college today face the same attitudes/discrimination.

    Case in point:
    The girls and our (hetero) kid having a great time together.
    They were gonna go out together the next evening, but something came up.

    I understand that folks are born one way or another, but isn't it a normal distribution curve thing, namely some folks are strongly hetero, some strongly homo, and everything in between?

    Seems like your perspective is influenced by the fact that you were in the strongly side of the curve.

    All I'm asking is that couldn't some in the center of the curve choose one way or another?

    I've read that men tend to be more strongly influenced by heredity than women.
    Makes sense, since the sex drive part of the brain becomes ten times bigger in men than women when hit by the tiny tot's testosterone from their tiny balls.

  54. Bob's Senator took a wide stance as he tap danced.

  55. It don't matter to me that she is gay as a goose. I couldn't care less. In a week I could teach this bright woman to run the farm, and give me a a lot less grief than my daughter does. What's important to me is, she knows Huck Finn like the back of her Phillipino hand, and puts many of us to shame, in that regard, Miss T, not perfect, but, a better American than most of us.

  56. A wiggle and a walk.
    A giggle and a talk.

    That makes the world go round.

    Whit, now you're talking.

  57. "...I've read that men tend to be more strongly influenced by heredity than women.
    Makes sense, since the sex drive part of the brain becomes ten times bigger in men than women when hit by the tiny tot's testosterone from their tiny balls."

    Is the problem physical or metaphysical?

    "See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."

    Robin Williams


  58. I was sitting at the bar and the lady next to me had a blue drink. I said, "Oh, that looks good how is it?" She said I'll let you know," as she takes a sip she says, "Wow, that's good, I think it gave me an orgasm."

    "Well, I'll have to buy one or two or maybe three."

    So, we start talking and I said, "I'm from Pa...."

    She cuts me off and says, "I'm so sorry..."

  59. So, was that the end of the conversation?

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. There was no end to the story. I said that my daughter was guest bar tending tonight and she said that her daughter was a guest bartender and then my beeper went off. I had dinner. I had a blue drink and I'm still waiting.....

    I guess it wasn't that good, huh?

  62. "...I had a blue drink and I'm still waiting....."

    I thought it was pretty good.


  63. No comment....I'll regret it in the morning.

  64. Hay, i thot you wuz at May Beach, or somewheres, your hair all curled up, endancing Quirk, not at home, alone.


  65. mee'mi

    I'm so drunk I can't type my own name.


  66. It was a good story.

    I like your stories like that. :)

  67. Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, signed a contract with BP to provide 32 units expected to work in the next 60 days.

    BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles would not disclose financial details.

    Costner said each machine, called a V20, can separate 210,000 gallons of oily water a day.

    210,000 gallons, multiplied by 62, gives US not a whole lot of water being processed.1.5 million gallons water a day.

    In sixty days.

    There's a whole lot of leakin' goin' on. More than the spin cycle of any Maytag man can handle.

  68. I can only imagine how I was going to respond to Quirks comment, which tells me that I'm glad I didn't.

    As far as my hair goes it was so windy on the beach with low humidity so my hair held up pretty good. Wind blown beach hair is sexy, eh?

    Today hot and humid.